Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Simplify Life with Migraines & Chronic Illness: Cleaning

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Keeping a clean, neat home when you're living with chronic illness can be incredibly challenging. Our energy suffers as a result of our health challenges and we tend to beat ourselves up for no longer being able to do what we used to do in the household. It can be very demoralizing to realize you have to ask for help because you can no longer keep up. However, by relying on some of these short cuts and strategies for getting help, you may find it easier to keep things clean around the house despite your limits.

Using this list as a starting point, assemble the products and tools you need to be able to keep everything clean. Some items won't apply to your household and there are probably things you'll need to add, but this is a good place to start.

List of Basic Cleaning Supplies:

Dusting Supplies
Cleaning Cloths
Dust Mop or
Vacuum Cleaner Dusting Attachment
Dusting Spray and/or
Furniture Polish

Trash Supplies
Trash Cans
Trash Can Liners
Baking Soda
Recycling Bins

General Surface Supplies
All-Purpose Cleaner
Kitchen Cleaner or Wipes
Bathroom Cleaner or Wipes
Paper Towels

Special Surface Supplies
Oven Cleaner
Stone Cleaner
Dish Soap
Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
Oven Cleaner
Stone Cleaner
Dish Soap
Wood Polish
Upholstery Spot Remover
Leather Cleaner
Laundry Soap
Laundry Stain Remover
Laundry Additives
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Soft Scrubbing Cleaner
Air Freshener
Glass Cleaner
Silver or Metal Polish

Floor Cleaning Supplies
Vacuum Cleaner
Mop Bucket
Mopping Solution
Floor Polish  


Practice pacing: Housekeeping is the perfect place to start practicing the concept of pacing. It is so easy to get going and completely overdo it. You must not do this to yourself. Do just a little bit every day, when possible, and stop before you're completely worn out. Set an alarm and do a 15 minute cleaning session. Stop cleaning when the 15 minutes are up and go on with other things you need to get done or rest for a while. You can read more about the concept in a post I recently shared: Pacing: An Important Tool for Coping with Chronic Illness.

Be creative: Brainstorm the challenges your symptoms present and enlist your friends and loved ones to help you come up with ways to meet them. If you have one of those super nice, but heavy as all get out vacuum cleaners and can't lift it, get something more lightweight.

Hire someone: It might not be as expensive as you think to hire someone to come clean your home every couple of weeks. If you can possibly find room in your budget, I highly recommend it.

Trade services: What are you good at? Can you trade baby sitting, house sitting, writing, web design, scrapbooking or knitting services with someone who doesn't have the same physical limitations as you do? Be as creative as you can.

Make sure you have the right tools on hand: Experts recommend microfiber cloths, Mr Clean Magic Erasers, a microfiber extendable duster and shower squeegees.

Utilize short-cut products such as paper plates, cups & bowls, disposable cleaning cloths (such as the Method wipes sold at Target), Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner and Cascade Complete All-in-1 ActionPacs.

Rely on products that do at least double or triple duty such as white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and an all purpose cleaner

Make a weekly chore chart: Divide chores up so the chronically ill person in the household does the less physical tasks around the house.

Clean as you go: Otherwise you'll never get caught up. Start dish water as you're cooking so you can immediately wash prep dishes, utensils and pots.

Simple tips:
  • Make your bed when you get up to set the tone for your day and inspire you to clean as you go all day long.
  • Put a fabric softener sheet in a casserole dish or slow cooker crock with hot water to soak & loosen up dried-on food;
  • Go through mail as soon as it arrives & shred or recycle anything you don't need;
  • Keep a set of cleaning supplies in each room or each level of your home;
  • Line baking sheets with foil so there's no need to scrub after baking;
  • Use a lint roller to dust cloth lampshades;
  • Stick to one pot recipes so you'll have fewer dishes to do.
  • Line the bottom of your oven with a non-stick oven liner that can be washed in the dishwasher. 
  • If you already have it on hand, put a teaspoon of Tang Drink Mix in the toilet bowl. The citric acid will clean the bowl & it's nontoxic so it won't harm pets.

Put away shoes, backpacks, purses, keys, etc., as soon as you come in the house.

Make a sweep of the house to put away items from the day and throw away trash before bedtime each night.

Work on projects like filing household papers or sorting mail while you watch a favorite TV program

Be realistic about your capabilities: Don't hold yourself to the same standard you would if you weren't living with chronic illness.

If having a pristine house isn't your top priority, don't feel obligated to treat it as one. You only have so much energy, so spend a good portion of it doing what you love.

Crazy-Busy Cleaning Shortcuts with Donna Smallin
Cleaning Shortcuts, Speed Secrets and Quick Cleanups
Basic Cleaning Supply List
30 Quick & Easy Cleaning Tips

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Content by Diana E. Lee.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.